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UN urges ratification of children's rights convention

UN officials on Thursday urged member states to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child [text] and its three optional protocols at the upcoming 2013 treaty event, which will be held at its New York headquarters. The US, Somalia and South Sudan are the only three states that are not party to the convention. The three optional protocols address the involvement of children in armed conflict [text], the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography [text], and allowing children to bring forward their complaints to the UN if their rights are being abused. The Secretary-General's Special Representative on Violence against Children Marta Santos Pais [official profile] said [UN News Centre report] that millions of children suffer daily but are excluded from the public debate, and that the week-long treaty event beginning September 24 is an opportunity for parties to commit to protecting the rights of children.

On Sunday Bahrain was specifically accused [press release] of violating the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Bahrain in 1992, by failing to protect children from "ill-treatment" and torture, separate them from adults in detention and provide access to legal assistance. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [official website] reported that Bahrain security forces are detaining children without cause and "subject[ing] them to ill-treatment that may rise to the level of torture." HRW concluded its report with the recommendation that Bahrain conduct investigations into allegations of torture and cease its widespread detention of children and only detain anyone under 18 as a last resort.

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